Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- Ding, ding.
Chalk up round one to Clay City.
The softball rivalry between the Eels and White River Valley has become one of the best in the area the past two years and Monday's SWIAC contest was another thriller.
The Eels took a 15-inning, 1-0 win to claim a sectional championship last year and in the teams' first meeting of the year, the Eels grabbed another 1-0 battle.
"This is a big win, a SWIAC win," commented Clay City coach Roger Rhodes. "We're making it too hard, but I think we're going to bust out one of these days."
Despite the lack of runs, both teams had some opportunities, but the Eels were the team that capitalized.
Clay City's Shelby Targett and WRV's Stephanie Fougerousse were each dominant over the first three frames, combining for 11 strikeouts and no hits allowed.
In the fourth inning however, both teams had its first chance to dent the scoreboard.
The Wolverines got a leadoff triple from Delaney Sanders, but Targett bore down to coax an infield pop out to shortstop Emily Reed for the first out. Alicia Tally then fouled out to catcher Angie Camp and Targett struckout Kaci Fulk to end the threat.
Fougerousse wouldn't be quite so fortunate.
Kayla Baumgartner reached first on a bunt single and Camp hammered a sharp grounder to Fulk at shortstop that squirted past for an error.
With both runners reaching safely, a passed ball put both runners in scoring position with no outs.
Reed came to the plate and her bunt attempt got past Fougerousse into no man's land as Baumgartner scored the all-important first run of the game.
Fougerousse was able to get out of further danger by getting Meranda Jackson on strikes, Chelsea Hane to pop out and Targett to groundout for the final out.
White River Valley had another shot in the fifth inning on a one-out walk to Mowery and an intentional walk to Fougerousse following a strikeout of Tasha Baker.
Mowery stole third and Fougerousse moved up to second on the play to put the tying run at third base.
Defense would save the Eels as Targett uncorked a wild pitch to the backstop, but Camp retrieved the ball and got the ball to the plate for Targett's tag on Mowery for the inning's final out.
"We kept them scoreless that inning," said Rhodes. "But we made a good play to recover from a bad play."
Miranda Dupire lead off the sixth inning with an infield single , but was out on a force play at second. Jenna Rollins walked, but later erased at third on a throw from Reed to Allison Carroll.
The Eels got through the seventh inning after a lead off walk to take the Southwestern Indiana Conference victory.
The victory improves the Eels' record to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the SWIAC. Clay City takes on Riverton Parke tonight at 5 p.m.
At Clay City
3B -- WRV (Sanders). SB -- CC (Hane).